A well-known janapada or a country, during the period of the Mahābhārata, it was also called Avantikā. It was located in western India in the present Ujjain-Mandhata region of Madhya Pradesh. Divided into two parts, the northern region had Ujjayinī as its capital whereas the capital of the south was Māhiṣmatī (the modern Mandhata). It was being ruled by two brothers Vinda and Anuvinda. They were subdued by Sahadeva, the last of the Pāṇḍava brothers and paid contributions towards the expenses of the Rājasūya sacrifice.

It is considered to be one of the seven cities (mahāpuṇyanagarīs) that confer great merit on those that dwell in it. It was here that Sāndīpani lived and, Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa were educated. The people of this region were known to be great warriors, being the descendants of Haihayas, the most celebrated of whom was Kārtavīryārjuna. Later on, it became the home of Buddhist and Jaina learning.